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Samsung and Apple might be at it again in the courts

The Department of Justice believes that the ruling made in the case between Apple and Samsung could swing wide a door for patent trolls.

Published onJune 10, 2016

samsung galaxy s6 vs apple iphone 6 aa (19 of 29)
Several eons ago, back in 2011, Samsung and Apple began their long string of legal battles over patents. Although it seemed for a while that the issue was over and done with, it now seems possible that the two tech titans will be returning to court later this year. This week the US Department of Justice recommended that the Supreme Court turn over the case for additional consideration because they believe the amount of damages awarded to Apple may need to be adjusted. It is their belief that the current ruling may encourage patent trolls who abuse the justice system for profit.

Back in 2012, Apple was awarded over one billion dollars in damages because Samsung was found guilty of using patented Apple technologies including using a grid organization system to display apps and creating smartphones with a rectangular shape sporting rounded corners. Samsung spent the next few years contesting this ruling, and eventually got the courts down to a ruling of $548 million in damages. The Korean company also secured the review of the Supreme Court on the case.

Samsung's appeal against Apple damages will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court after all

The Department of Justice is concerned about how these damages were determined. For instance, the Patent Act of 1952 secures the right for patent holders to recover all profits from the manufactured product that took advantage of the patented technology. However, the Department of Justice makes a distinction in that sometimes the “article of manufacture,” as it is called in this act, may only be a portion of the finished product, not the product in its entirety. The original 2012 case saw the jury being advised that Samsung’s infringements on Apple patents resulted in the finished product of their smartphones constituting a complete “article of manufacture,” but the Department of Justice believes this might be a misinterpretation of the law. According to a statement reported in the Financial Times, the organizations believes this issue is an “overbroad reading” of the act that could potentially open up the door to “grossly excessive and essentially arbitrary awards” that patent trolls could take advantage of.

As it stands, this is just a matter of recommendation from the DoJ, and whether or not the Supreme Court will take it into consideration is yet to be determined. However, the concern that patent trolls could take advantage of the precedent set by the court rulings is a legitimate one. We might just see the battle between Samsung and Apple rise from the grave in the near future. Let us know what you think about this issue and the potential abuse patent trolls could create based on it in the comments below!

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